5 ways to celebrate the end of the school year with older kids

5 ways to celebrate the end of the school year with older kids

There are few days as joyous for kids as the last day of the school year. The elementary school celebrations involving parents are fun, but middle schoolers would likely be quite mortified if a parent met the bus holding balloons or brought treats to the classroom.

So how are middle school or junior high parents to help celebrate the end of the school year?

Special Dinner

You don’t have to have a blow out bash to still make the end of the year special.

“I . . . let my son choose dinner,” said reader Ellen Serwick. You can also have family pizza and game night.

Another option is going out to dinner and letting your kids pick the restaurant, or going somewhere fun and establishing a family tradition like reader Linda Cosgrove does. For her family, the end of the school year means one thing: “Chinese buffet.”

Write a Note

Yup, it’s a little cheesy, but it can make a big impact if you leave a short note for your child telling him/her that you’re proud of the year they had. Parents often hear that giving specific praise is important, and this is a great chance to recognize a few instances from the year when your tween did a good job. Focus on effort, not grades.

Go Out for Ice Cream

“Almost everybody loves ice cream,” reader Breeze Watson wisely stated on the Facebook page.

Consider one-on-one outings to get some frozen goodness, as ice cream is sometime the magic elixir tweens need to open up and talk.


Giving your kid a fun summer read can be a great way to kick off a period of fun reading. If you need some suggestions, check out this post or you can never go wrong with a Kate DiCamillo book.

Another option would be a gift card to a book store and make it into an outing to pick out a fun book. Let them take the lead and give them a chance to tell you why they picked what they did.

Combine a trip to the book store with a top for ice cream and then you have a real win-win.

Summer Fun

I don’t see the end of school as a gift-giving occasion, but if there’s something you are going to do over the summer anyway, maybe make a big deal of presenting it to your kids to kick off summer. It could be passes to the water park or amusement park, or something that goes along with your family vacation.

It’s just somewhere local that you’ve never visited, or at least haven’t been in a while. Check out this post for some fun new places and hidden gems in Chicago.

Perhaps give them something that goes with a fun day trip. For Chicago friends, one idea would be a box of Jelly Belly jelly beans with the promise of a trip to the warehouse over the summer.

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